With relatively few defensive linemen being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Packers still have lots of options available to them in the second round at a position of need.
When the Packers decided to take USC’s Nick Perry to fill a need outside linebacker on Thursday night, the hole on the defensive line for a starting-caliber player went unfulfilled. And that’s not to say the Packers erred by selecting Perry.
Perhaps Tony Hargrove will become a starter and the producer the Packers need from a defensive lineman this season. But with his status still up in the air with a possible suspension being handed down due to “Bountygate” and Mike Neal serving a four-game suspension of his own, the Packers could still use some help on the defensive line.
The only true defensive lineman being selected in round one were Dontari Poe, Quinton Coples and Michael Brockers, and even Coples’ fit as a 3-4 defensive lineman is dubious at best.
That leaves a fair number of five-technique defensive ends who line up over the offensive tackle available to the Packers in round two.
Among the names still on the board are Kendall Reyes of Connecticut, Devon Still of Penn State, Jerel Worthy of Michigan State, Brandon Thompson of Clemson and Derek Wolfe of Cincinnati.
General manager Ted Thompson is armed with 11 picks with six rounds to go, so he still has the ammunition to move up in the Draft if there’s a player he really covets.
But with so many ends available, the Packers may choose to wait and see who slides to them at the end of the second round. There’s no doubt some of them will be taken by the 59th overall selection, but there’s a good chance one or two can be had for the taking.
The loss of Nick Collins still leaves a gaping hole in the secondary as well, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Packers select the best defensive back whether it’s Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward, Oklahoma’s Jamell Fleming or Montana’s Trumaine Johnson.
It’s difficult to envision the Packers selecting a true safety in the second round despite the need. South Carolina’s Antonio Allen, LSU’s Brandon Taylor and Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin will probably all be available, but none of them stand out.
And it’s hard to envision the Packers taking a player on the offensive side of the football unless Wisconsin center Peter Konz slips all the way to the bottom of the second round, which is unlikely.
For as poorly as the Packers defense played last season when they gave up the most passing yards in the history of the NFL, the Draft is shaping up nicely as good defensive players could be falling to them.